Kabul, Afghanistan — Suicide bombers coordinated with each other to conduct attacks near the National Directorate of Security, or the primary intelligence arm of the Afghan government. 25 were reported killed, though some estimates say the number was higher. Approximately 45 people were also wounded.
ISIS-K (the ISIS branch operating in Afghanistan) has claimed responsibility for the attacks online.
The bombings were not simultaneous. First, one suicide bomber detonated himself near the building while he was on a motorcycle. Emergency personnel, bystanders and journalists rushed to the scene to aid and document the attack. That’s when the second suicide bomber moved to the crowd and detonated himself as well.
Four of the dead were police officers and nine were journalists. This makes it the deadliest attack on journalists in Afghanistan since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan in 2001.
This tactic is an effective tool to maximize casualties, especially high-profile casualties like emergency response personnel, journalists and good Samaritans who simply want to help — if terrorism is the goal, this proves to be extremely effective. It is also difficult to detect a second bomber in the chaotic aftermath of the first explosion.
However, it does happen often. ISIS-K would have difficulty in finding two willing suicide bombers who could keep their cool throughout a relatively complex operation. Suicide bombing, as one can imagine, is a stressful business as it inevitably leads to the death of the bomber. The bombers are rarely completely coherent and sound of mind, and are expected to carry out complex steps (wait for the first explosion, put yourself in an advantageous position to maximize enemy casualties, avoid suspicion when people are on edge, and then actually carry out a second bombing) all without skipping a beat. Often times suicide bombers jump the gun and pull the trigger early out of nerves, though it’s difficult to tell when this happens, and to determine all the decisions that went into such an act after the fact. Suicide bombers are, for obvious reasons, a difficult demographic to study.
Featured image courtesy of the Associated Press.